This year marks 100 years since the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering and the mission quarterlies were created. To commemorate these centennials, special mission reports from the past 100 years will be included in each of the mission quarterlies this year.
China, one of the countries featured this quarter, received part of one of the first Thirteenth Sabbath Offerings in 1912 to help provide housing for missionaries.
Work in China moved forward quickly during the early years. A report dated 1915 said: “The Spirit of God is doing a marvelous work in the hearts of the people, preparing them to receive the last message of warning and invitation to a perishing world.”*
But the need for more missionaries was evident in another report, describing the work in the Szechuan region of China. “This great field . . . is without doubt, the most needy field that Seventh-day Adventists have as yet occupied. . . . In this vast field, with its 88,000,000 people, the third angel’s message is represented by only two ministerial workers. . . . It is as though all the [missionaries] in the United States [were] withdrawn, except two.”†
A Chinese man named Min had sensed his need for salvation for several years. He built a temple and moved there. He lived alone, burning incense to his god and fasting and praying for hours a day. But he had no peace and felt no hope of salvation.
Finally he gave up his vigil and returned to the village. There he learned about evangelistic meetings being conducted by an Adventist missionary. He attended the meetings and gave his heart to God.
Following his conversion, Min’s temple stood empty; but his heart was full of love for God. ‡
An elderly believer known as “Old Mr. Djang” led the church in a mission outpost in the countryside of China.
When the spring rains failed, threatening the rice crops, farmers gave offerings and prayed to the gods in the local temples, but still the skies remained cloudless.
Then old Mr. Djang called a village meeting. He told the story of Elijah’s prayer for rain (see 1 Kings 18:42-45) and challenged those present. “We must have faith that the God in heaven will send us rain.” Then Mr. Djang invited those present to pray to the living God for rain.
After the prayer meeting, the villagers returned home and watched the sky for signs of rain. Toward evening someone saw a small cloud in the sky and spread the news—God had heard their prayers. That night rain fell in torrents.
The next day was Sabbath—Thirteenth Sabbath. Many villagers joined believers at the little church to thank God for sending rain. Brother Djang invited everyone present to give a big mission offering to thank God for the life-saving rain. The people responded, including many who were not believers. In addition, several villagers asked to learn more about the God who answers prayer in such a remarkable way.§
When Communists overthrew the government in China, mission properties were seized and missionaries were forced to flee the country. For almost 40 years, beginning in 1951, the world didn’t know what had happened to Christians in China. Then China began opening again, and church members heard inspiring stories of faith under the most difficult circumstances.
Some 50 years after the 1948 Thirteenth Sabbath Offering for China, another Thirteenth Sabbath Offering in 1998 helped provide Chinese-language programming for eastern Asia. Ten years later, in 2008, another Thirteenth Sabbath Offering helped establish a recording studio in Taiwan that is producing programs for Chinese-speaking people around the world. This quarter part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help make hundreds of video programs in Mandarin to be broadcast around the world via Hope TV and the Internet.
More than 1.4 billion Chinese-speaking people live in China and Taiwan; millions more are scattered throughout Indonesia and North and South America. Celebrate 100 years of giving to special mission projects around the world; make your birthday gift this March 24 your best ever.
*Mission Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 16, 1915, p. 10.
†Mission Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 16, p. 19.
‡Mission Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 16, pp. 27, 28.
§Mission Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 16, pp. 29-31.